Amusing message on a whiteboard in the hallway

It is common to see whiteboards mounted in hallways. Sometimes they have official purposes; other times they are just placed for the convenience of hallway conversations or impromptu meetings.

One of the hallways near my office has a very large whiteboard, completely blank, save for one note clearly written in the corner.


Comments (28)

    Sorry. I forgot this was The Old Thing and not TDWTF.

  2. John says:

    First rule of whiteboard: do not erase whiteboard.

    Second rule of whiteboard: DO NOT ERASE WHITEBOARD.

  3. nathan_works says:

    Anyone else see the text Raymond hid in the empty space ?

  4. Matt says:

    Someone needs to write "okay" under that message.

  5. @Matt  :)

    Or write "Please erase the other message".

    I guess the text on the whiteboard is code for "If you are writing on and erasing this whiteboard then others will assume you are the one who wrote 'do not erase'.  Thus no one will question you since no one knows who can and cannot erase this anyway.  Unless the real 'do not erase' author comes along, at which point you can say to him/her 'why don't you just say "Jim's Whiteboard"'"?   (lovely quote nesting there)

  6. Danny says:


    Thumbs up..I select it too

  7. Joshua says:

    Source says that nathan_works is a liar.

  8. Massif says:

    Reminds me of the pages at the back of exam papers which proudly proclaim:


  9. A. Skrobov says:

    My guess is, the whiteboard was full of stuff with the "DO NOT ERASE" message in the corner.

    Then, someone understood it very literally, and did't erase the message when erasing the whole whiteboard.

  10. Ceci n'est pas un tableau blanc

  11. Emmanuel says:

    Back when I was in college, we had something like this in one of our classrooms. The board was used for other purposes in-between, but the "do not erase" text was there for nearly the entire four years I was attending classes in that room. Someone finally erased it partway through my senior year, which made many of my fellow students quite sad.

  12. I am reminded of the Simpsons episode where Lisa becomes the Laramie Cigarettes queen, only to be stripped of her crown because of a paperwork error on her entry form.  In the area marked "Do Not Write Below This Line", Homer wrote "OK".

  13. xpclient says:


    [Well-played. -Raymond]
  14. AC says:

    Re xpclient:

    Although xpclient's usual rants are annoying, this reference is obscure yet mildly relevant enough to be funny.

  15. Joshua says:


    Yeah, gets on my nerves when certain programs auto-sort messages for display based on last name while I'm debugging a program that processes in the order received rather than trying to determine the display order.

  16. foo says:

    Could be the work of an aspiring artist.…/25846

  17. says:


    My first thought (aka me2).


    Thought you were linking to those all-black paintings :(

  18. foo says:


    Oh, all white. Here you go:…/25833

  19. TC says:


    > Reminds me of the pages at the back of exam papers which proudly proclaim: "THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK"

    Back in my early COBOL days, I had a question about the 'BLANK' keyword. I looked it up in the index of our COBOL manual. Most of the other index entries had only a few references – but 'BLANK' had dozens and dozens. I looked up the first reference …

  20. Julian says:

    DO NOT ERASE … what?

    Gramatically, is the sentence incomplete?  

    Do we imply … THIS MESSAGE, but what is our justification for doing so, unless it is an inference in our mental compiler?  

    Alternatively, is it exhorting us to shun the Recycle Bin, and keep everything, for ever?

    And how do we know that the author is not locked in a battle with someone that erases the message every time they walk past?

  21. JM says:

    Inspiring. I just labeled my C: "DO NOT ERASE". That should prevent administrative mishaps.

  22. Neil says:

    @TC: I'm surprised "THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK" isn't legal COBOL ;-)

    I wonder whether anyone tried to leave a "DO NOT ERASE" comment.

  23. James says:

    @Julian: "Erase" may be either a transitive or intransitive verb. "Do not erase." is a perfectly valid sentence.

  24. trike says:

    @JM brilliant. Does a quick format count as an erase?

    Ooh. Maybe someone quick formatted the whiteboard?

  25. No One says:

    @Julian:  Furthermore, in context, the implied object would probably be the whiteboard, not that particular message.  Then again, even without an implied object it's still a valid sentence since it's merely ordering you to never erase anything.

  26. Julian says:

    @James:  Good point.  I think I was struggling with what the meaning of the sentence would be, if an intransitive usage were intended by the author, which leads me to No One's points I guess.

    @No One:  I am not sure that I would use the word "erase" with respect to a physical object such as a white board, so I felt it was not certain what the implied object of the transitive usage would be.  I guess we are getting into "liar paradox" territory.  I liked the idea of erasing the whiteboard. If erasure of the whiteboard was the concern, was the author worried about the increase in entropy and loss of physical information that could entail for us all?

  27. ErikF says:

    At school, teachers often left "PLO" (Please leave on) next to stuff. Smart alecs would then inevitably ask what said stuff had to do with the Palestinian Liberation Organization….

  28. Terence says:

    Not sure if this is a running joke or people aren't familiar with this.

    Obviously a meta-post to the janitors.

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